Simeone vs Guardiola: From praise to insult

Diego Simeone and Pep Guardiola praised each other before the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final between Atletico Madrid and Manchester City, but ended up hitting out at each other with bitter remarks.

Following Manchester City’s 1-0 win on home soil, Guardiola used the word ‘pre-historic’ to refer to the 5-5-0 formation that Simeone opted for in the first leg.

Atletico defended deep in their bid to secure a decent result ahead of the second leg at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.

Prior the duel in Madrid, Simeone demonstrated his unease for Guardiola’s criticism.

“I have been coaching since 2005 and I have never disrespected a professional colleague,” said the Argentine tactician.

Manchester City took many by surprise with the defensive approach in the second half of the duel in the Spanish capital, as they managed to keep a clean sheet and secure qualification to the semi-finals.

“Many times those who have a great lexicon are very intelligent and manage to praise you in contempt, but those of us who have a little less lexicon are not stupid,” Simeone said after the eventful game at the Wanda Metropolitano.

It already happened with Klopp

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The situation between Guardiola and Simeone is reminiscent of the issues that the Argentine had with Klopp in tie between Atletico and Liverpool a couple of years ago.

Klopp praised Atletico before the first leg, but he expressed his unease about their style of play after losing the return leg at Anfield.

The two teams faced each other this season too, where the two men not greeting each other and talked about each other’s philosophies.

There was tension in the air at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano at the end of Atletico Madrid’s Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City, with a brawl on the pitch in the final minutes leading to further disturbances in the tunnel after the full time whistle.

Stefan Savic clashed with Jack Grealish and Sime Vrsaljko had to be held back from Kyle Walker, with the police even intervening.

Criticism of Atletico Madrid on BT Sport

 

This led to criticism of Atletico Madrid in the UK. The British pundits actually praised Diego Simeone’s side for pushing Manchester City to limit, but were unimpressed by the ugly scenes at the end.

“You have to say, if talking about football, well done to Atletico Madrid, as they made Manchester City play in a way we haven’t seen for a long time,” Rio Ferdinand said on BT Sport.

“They took them out of their rhythm and their stride.

 

“But some of the stuff towards the end was not what you want to see on a football pitch.

“It was distasteful behaviour from the Atletico players. They should be embarrassed with some of the antics they have gone on with.”

Avideo has gone viral on social media showing a brawl that took place between players and coaching staff of Atletico Madrid and Manchester City in the tunnel leading to the dressing rooms of the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.

Jack Grealish and Stefan Savic were seen exchanging words before walking away from each other, but at that moment Kyle Walker appeared to add fuel to the fire. The Manchester City right-back pushed Atletico Madrid’s physio David Lora, with Sime Vrsaljko arriving to confront both Walker and youngster Liam Delap.

Meanwhile, academy product Romeo Lavia exchanged words with Vrsaljko, while Ederson gestured with his finger.

 

The video was broadcast on TV and police had to intervene to break up the brawl in the tunnel. Manchester City had just sealed qualification for the semi-finals after beating Atletico Madrid 1-0 on aggregate.

 

Despite having recorded a 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid on Tuesday evening, Pep Guardiola cut a frustrated figure in the immediate aftermath of the encounter, suggesting that it is very difficult to attack against a 5-5-0 formation, both in the present day and in prehistoric times.

Whilst the Spanish coach always has the potential to drop some hyperbole in his press conferences, he appeared especially unhappy with the defensive shape used by Atleti at the Etihad Stadium.
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“We sensed they would play 3-5-2, then they adjusted and went to a 5-5-0, something that in prehistoric times and today is very difficult to attack,” Guardiola explained in his post-match press conference.

“There is no space, they are strong, whilst we are small and light. It’s a question of patience, I told them at half-time that we were doing well, and the game broke down in the second-half, but I already sense that it’s going to be a similar game in Madrid.”

Guardiola, whilst frustrated by the defensive tactics on show, was complimentary towards the effort of Atletico Madrid’s defensive players, labelling them masters of the art.

“It was a hard-fought match, a very difficult one,” Guardiola continued.

“They are masters at defending all together and it’s difficult. We managed to stop them running, we didn’t create chances but we were patient and got the goal from a Foden connection with Kevin.”

Phil Foden changed the match

It was a surprise to most in attendance at the Etihad Stadium when team news filtered through and both Phil Foden and Jack Grealish had been left on the bench, yet the former would go on to have a major impact on the outcome of the match.

“Foden had some very good moments,” Guardiola added.

“We know he has this quality. Jack [Grealish] is special in giving continuity to the game, it was a very even match and a question of patience.”

Styles will clash once more
Guardiola refused to answer whether or not he felt his style of football had won out against Simeone’s more defensive brand, merely confirming that there is a second-leg to come and that neither team is yet through to the semi-final.

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